Another look at last weekend...

Dear Metro Family,

This is a follow-up on last Sunday’s service. I want to thank everyone who invested so much in our Family Service as well as each of you who generously shared your affirmations of the morning. I believe that God was glorified as we worshiped together across generations!

Given the fact that our children were present in the service, I did not feel that it was appropriate to give the unfolding events in Charlottesville VA the attention that they justly deserve. At the same time, it is totally unacceptable to let these events become just another unfortunate chapter in our country’s sad racial story.

What we witnessed in Charlottesville this past weekend is another indication of an untreated malignancy that exists in our country. The disease has several names, most being unutterable by the majority of my fellow white Americans. But let’s call it what it is; white supremacy, white nationalism, racism, bigotry, hatred, venomous evil, sin. Charlottesville revealed that the disease is not in remission. It runs in our veins and resides in the marrow of our bones. The purveyors of white supremacy have capitalized on our current political climate and have become emboldened to once again bring their heretical ideology into the light of day. Charlottesville is nothing new, it is just a recent manifestation of an untreated, chronic and fatal condition that has existed in our country since before it became a country. White supremacy is not a side-bar or bolt-on to our country, it is one of the foundation stones on which our country was built and today it pervades our society.

The double-speak that we witnessed in the past few days from the current administration does absolutely nothing to combat the disease. On the contrary, the first message held all the code-words necessary to allow the hate-mongers to continue on their current course. The second message was easily written off as acquiescing to pressure from the liberal press, just background noise to the white supremacists.

Metro - racism must not be relegated to our country’s history. It has never been appropriately addressed and it continues to rear it’s ugly head in large and small ways.  I have little hope that the current administration will in any way address root issues and move us in a healthy and redemptive direction.

However, the past 2000 years of Christian history have repeatedly revealed that when the church, following its Head, humbles itself, owns its stuff, acknowledges truth and finds its voice, it becomes a powerful change agent in society. God knows we are desperate for that today!

Pastor Kevin

Photos above are from Lisa Ra and Christy Vinson. Christy organized a peace gathering for Closter on Sunday night and a few of our Metro family were able to be part of the 120 people who came out to stand against evil and racism and pray for our country.  

Celebrating Pastor Shirley

Last Sunday, a group of Pastor Shirley's close friends, staff, and ministry team members gathered together to celebrate her transition from Pastor of MetroKids Ministry to Pastor of Special Needs Ministry. What stood out to me the most in that celebration was how much we collectively wanted to honor this woman - who truly knows how to welcome and love the little ones as Christ welcomed and loved them.

In her 13 years at MetroKids, Pastor Shirley planted some serious seeds of Christ’s love in our children - starting with the very first MetroKids child, Christina Ahn, who is now herself a MetroKids Assistant Leader! But the fact is, Pastor Shirley has greatly influenced the parents and teachers, too.

If you know Pastor Shirley, you know she has a special gift to make each person feel loved and welcomed as a fellow brother or sister in the Lord. It’s in that signature smile of hers, in her insistent hugs, in her genuine ability to listen!

She may be a small gal, but she packs a punch in the way she delivers her passion for people - especially God’s people. And for that, we are very blessed.

We are excited for what God has in store for Metro and for Pastor Shirley as she follows His lead. Please continue to pray with us on behalf of this amazing sister and her calling at Metro.

Submitted by Lisa Ra

A Generous Offer: Metro Family Portraits

Dear Metro Community,

Olya and I have been at Metro for many years and nothing means more to us in being part of a community than to serve. We have served in different ministries, but what gives us the most joy is to put our God given skills to work for His glory. 

We, as photographers, have always sought to give voice to the arts in ministry, and to encourage others to pursue their passion. We also believe in the work Metro Community Church is doing, which is why we want to support Metro financially by doing what we do best.

For the very first time, we would like to donate our Family Portrait Sessions from "Tony & Olya Photography" to Metro Community Church, where 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the church. 

We hope this will be a great opportunity for us to serve the families of Metro who are interested in having a family portrait session, to help build community (we love meeting new people!), while supporting the church that we love!

If you attend Metro Community Church and would like to have your family's portrait taken, we are offering a 45-minute session for $225 and a 90-minute session for $425...

To book a session or for more information, please contact us directly at contact@iwannamarry.com.

- Tony & Olya Yang

T-3 Took A Hike!

Metro's newest ministry, T3 (which stands for Top Tier Transformers) sponsored a Family Fellowship Hike on a recent Saturday morning in Palisades Interstate Park. We enjoyed being out in the woods for a while as we got to know each other better. For the most part, the more seasoned among us were able to keep up with the younger generation!

Kevin Swanson
Executive Pastor

Bringing Our Single Women Into Focus

The Women's Ministry had its second pre-launch event this past Sunday in anticipation of the official launch of the ministry this September.

Our core team wanted to hear from the single women of Metro - to hear what was on their hearts, including their challenges and needs as single women and what they would like to see happen through the Women’s Ministry.

We were thrilled for the turnout; in total, nearly 30 women came out to the focus group! From the start of the meeting, we felt their excitement and eagerness for this new ministry. This was very encouraging!

It was also a diverse group of single women - women from various life-stages of singlehood, background and age. Even with this diversity, the common message was clear: a desire for community, fellowship, support, accountability - in short, a place of belonging where we are not separated by our age and life circumstances.

We are so thankful to all the women that came out to share what was on their hearts and minds. It was immensely helpful to listen and take note of the needs, desires, and hopes of our singles and we are excited for what God has planned for the women of Metro as this ministry continues to unfold. Your prayers are appreciated! Thank you!

Submitted by Jee Cappola
Co-Leader, Women's Ministry

Frontline, Fellowship & Food

Many Frontliners and their families gathered for a barbecue on Sunday. They celebrated serving together while enjoying ribs, burgers, several side dishes and desserts. They even had a chance to celebrate the many years that Heather served as Frontline captain. The Director of Frontline, Christy Vinson, says, "Serving alongside each person who is part of Frontline has been such an honor and a joy. I'm so grateful for all that they do every week." (We did a better job at the 3 Fs than the 1 P- Photos... but here is a sampling of our fun; another F for Pastor David's sake.)
 

Sending

This morning we had the privilege of praying for and sending the 9 youth and 4 sponsors who will be serving in Milwaukee WI. According to Pastor Clayton Chan, Milwaukee is one of the poorest large city in the US. Our team will be working alongside established ministries that know the needs and have built relationships with the people of Milwaukee. Please pray for our team as they represent Metro on their July 30 - August 5 trip.

Refreshing Metro's Instagram

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There are more than 40 billion images shared and 400 million monthly active users on Instagram, generating about 80 million photos daily. Yes, you read that right - 80 million photos per day! In this Insta-world of flooding images, Instagram manages to be one of the best mobile-based photo/video-sharing social network platforms to date. Sure, it's only been around for seven years, but besides individual users sharing their lives via photos and videos, Instagram allows brands, companies, businesses, schools, churches and communities a fantastic opportunity to engage with their followers in a better way than their websites or even Facebook/Twitter posts can. 

At #eMetro, we have recently established a team of avid Instagrammers whose goal is to promote the community that is Metro Community Church. We see the potential for this 500+ attendee church of ours to be more than just a church who simply has an Instagram account, but to use this powerful visual medium to capture the essence of our beloved Metro, and more importantly.. share what God is doing through our church! 

So, PLEASE FOLLOW US and help Metro in having a relevant presence on Instagram! Be sure to like, share, comment and even tag your friends and family - which will help our posts to reach as many people as possible. Also, be sure to keep a look out for our Metro "stories" (on the top the row of your main page) for exclusive live shots, behind the scenes, candid moments, and other "less formal" content. Of course, you'll need to watch them before they expire within 24 hours. #winkface

Lastly, we want you to see and share YOUR experiences at Metro. Whenever you capture a "Metro moment" and post to Instagram, be sure to tag us @metrocommunitychurch (or @metroyg for our student ministries), tag Metro Community Church as your location and use the #emetro hashtag in your caption (we will also monitor for #MetroCommunityChurch). Who knows, maybe we will "regram" your pic (of course, we will always acquire your permission, and will credit your @username)! 

So let's do this, Metro! FOLLOW US NOW @MetroCommunityChurch and @MetroYG, start capturing your experiences at Metro and let's share with the world just how awesome our God is! 

Happy Instagramming! 

#emetro #MetroCommunityChurch @metrocommunitychurch

Submitted by KyungJun Han
Instagram Team

Mother's Underground Group- MUG

There are many reasons to be in an Underground group. Here are a few reflections on the joys of being in a Mom's UG:

A month into coming to Metro, I decided to join a MUG (Mother’s Underground Group). I have been in small groups before, but this is the first time I've joined a mother’s group. I have been looking for a  community where we can share experiences and support each other in the daily challenges of motherhood. And I found this. I found them. A group of mothers in different walks of life, in different life stages, all with a shared love and yearning to know God more. We bonded over our struggles and joys. We lifted each other in prayers. We emboldened each other to live supernaturally, as we studied and learned more about the Spirit’s fruits and its place in our lives.

It is a fairly new community to me, and we are just starting to know each other deeper. I feel truly blessed that I found a group of beautiful women enriched in encouragement and empathy. I feel God has blessed me/us with this group and I can't wait to continue this journey with this community of mothers- all God-fearing, God-loving, and God-filled. (Sharon)

I’m so glad that I have been part of this group of fellow moms for the last two years. I have experienced much emotional healing as well as a renewed spiritual life with the encouragement of the group and focus on scripture. There are some differences from other small groups I’ve been a part of in the past. First, we started with high commitment and went deep by sharing our life stories. As we took turns, every member had to be there or we waited until the next meeting. Second, our time was devoted to simply listening to and praying for each other, at least that first semester. And as we’ve gone through the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality courses and more recently a study on the fruit of the Spirit, we still take time to share. Third, I’ve been with this group for two years, which is a pretty long time in Metro UG (Underground Group) life. Our group of moms has changed over time - some newer faces, some leaving as life circumstances changed, even a returning sister. God worked something amazing when He prompted Jen to speak to me about being a part of the group back when it was being formed. What a wonderful community of fellow moms and sisters in Christ. I have been so blessed and encouraged. Go MUG!  (Anna)

Making a decision to join an UG that requires weekly attendance was not an easy one as a mother of a baby who was only a few months old at the time. However, with the help from fellow mothers, rescheduling of husband's work hours at times, and a babysitter, I was able to attend weekly meetings on a regular basis. It helped me to refocus my attention to God, learn about various spiritual gifts through a video series from Beth Moore, but most of all, it helped me to spend time with God even if it's just for a few hours a week. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to have fellowshipped with fellow mothers and am looking forward to walking this journey in faith together as sisters in Christ and as mothers of beloved children of God. (Jimin)

Last fall was the start of the MUG, I have been longing for this kind of community for a long time. I've had a lot of heartkroken and depressing things happened in my life earlier this year. Everything that happened affected my daily life and spiritual life. I made excuses of why I wasn’t able to go to the weekly meetings or finish the Bible study homework. In the Spring semester, I made a promise to myself to attend the group no matter what. Even with the few meetings I had attended, God showed me what I needed to do in order for me to have more patience to deal with all the stressful things that hindered me from spiritual growth. God also showed me through the friends I made from this group. Along the journey, they have cried and laughed with me through the rough and happy times. I know that God is always by my side,  so are many other fellow sisters who can relate to me in a lot of things. I thank God for all that I have learned from this group. (Julie)

Being a part of this Mother's Underground group has been such a blessing for me the past 2 years.  We moms need support and encouragement and what better place to find it than among other moms going through similar struggles and understand.  I have enjoyed our times of sharing and praying and am so grateful for the women who have been a part of this group.  God has shown me the importance of reaching out when we are in need and has reassured me that I am never alone in my failings.  Not only is God always there, but many others know/have gone through exactly the same thing!  It's great knowing I am not alone. (Na)

I love Metro’s one word mission statement: Transformation. I would say the darkest period of my life has been the past year, and I started this MUG (mom’s underground group) in the midst of my deep depression.  I was taking antidepressant, talking to counselors, reading self-help books, meeting with pastors for consultation, and did anything and everything that would help me to get out of (what seemed like) the darkest black hole.  With my church’s community support (MUG), prayers, and myself purposely drawing closer to God, I was able to get better slowly from my totally broken self.  I found God through praying (communicating with God as if I was talking to a best-friend/father), reading bible daily (made notes and posted the scriptures that really hit home on my closet), and making practical everyday life changes (such as joining a mommy's underground group) that will able me to find time to turn the ‘worldly noise’ down and really ‘listen’ to God.  I am sure this thing called ‘life’ will throw me other curve balls or hardships.  However, I pray that I will utilize those 'opportunities' to get down on my knees and get closer to God for He is good ALL the time!  I am totally aligned with Metro’s mission statement - Transformation which can happen to a such lost and confused sheep like me!!! (Cathy)

When I first started attending Metro, the idea of joining an underground group was completely foreign to me. Growing up in a Pentecostal church I attended Sunday School and Bible study, but "small groups" did not exist. After being a part of a much smaller church where everyone knew me and my family, I was content for a while to just be a face in the large crowd on Sundays at Metro. But then I started to realize that something was missing- I needed to be in community with people to really be part of God's church. Joining the Mom's Underground group was definitely far out of my comfort zone- I'm an introvert and the more deeply I feel something the more I dislike discussing it! I decided to step out on faith and go- and I'm so glad I did. Over the weeks and months I've come to greatly look forward to the fellowship with the other moms... all of us with different life struggles trying to navigate this Christian life relying on God's abundant grace, wisdom and mercy. I believe that this community, this fellowship, has made me a more thoughtful and prayerful wife, mother, daughter and sister.

In an article Carolyn Taketa wrote "we live in an increasingly fragmented and disconnected world. Though social media and other technology have made our world seemingly more connected, people have fewer genuine friends than ever before. It feels scary and threatening to allow ourselves to be known or to invest in knowing someone else at a deep level. It is much easier and more convenient to stay on the surface. Yet when we take the risk of being authentic with a small group of people, we can experience God's grace and love coming through others, which leads to freedom and transformation."  (Vatrell)

Two years ago, I had the desire of building deeper relationship with other women at Metro. With the encouragement from Linda and Pastor David, I started the mom’s group with my co-leader Na. At the beginning of the group, it’s encouraging to hear other moms share how much they need this group during this busy season in their lives. Motherhood is an important job, but can be lonely, especially when you have a newborn or small children at home. This group provides the encouragement and prayers for one another. I am learning a lot in leading this group. All of us have struggles,  when we shared it with others and lifted each other in prayer, the burden is lighter. When we opened up ourselves, others opened up their hearts to us, too. When we saw God’s answered prayers, we rejoiced together. Over the past two years, besides the weekly meeting, we also met for dinner several times, we went to the parenting workshop on the topic of “Technology”, we had one mom giving birth to a newborn, we hugged a younger single group (Hug an UG)--had fun eating, sharing and laughing together, we celebrate each other’s birthday by having a cake for the birthday girl, and we also had a family BBQ last summer including the husbands and children. I hope to see this MUG continues and perhaps multiplies, so it can be a blessing to many others. (Jennifer)

 

Celebrate With Thanksgiving

Last night, at the Evangelical Covenant's Annual Meeting, Pastor Kevin and Pastor Clay were ordained to Word and Sacrament which is a permanent, life-time credential with our denomination. About forty other men and women from different races and life stages, who are pastoring around our nation, were ordained with them. Missionaries and people dedicated for special ministries were ordained, too. 

Esther was able to come and be with Pastor Clay. Pastor Kevin's family came from Singapore and Chicago to be there for this special moment. His sister, Rev. Tammy Draheim (Superintendent of the Covenant's Midwest Conference) was the one who prayed for Pastor Kevin when the pastors knelt for the consecration prayer. 

Nothing will change in the life and ministry of Pastor Clay and Pastor Kevin because they are now ordained. As licensed, credentialed pastors, they were able to do everything a pastor does before last night's service as they are able to do now. Being ordained represents completion of many years of studies and preparation for a life-time of consecrated service. It is a moment to celebrate and to stop and thank God for His faithfulness to these men who desire to serve him with all their hearts.

Changing Lives - EHS

If you were to do a personal spiritual inventory, what would you find?  The Bible describes a life full of wonder, joy, and peace for those who choose to follow Christ.  Can you say this is true for you?  I think that for most of us, we’d find the opposite is true. Our lives do not model that of our Savior who, even in suffering, glorified God and remained centered in Him.  In our day to day we are harried, anxious, and running on empty. Our lives are full of tasks, relationships, and maybe even some spiritual activities yet they are void of any fruit or transformation.  We are exhausted, bitter and disappointed with others and with ourselves, and while we'd love to address these things and give ourselves the chance to heal, we are unwilling and unable to provide God the space to work in our lives.

Does this sound familiar? If so you are not alone.  The above is an accurate picture of my Christian life for the past 20 years.  On the surface I was your model Christian.  I was always serving and active within the church.  I read the Bible and gave generously to others.  While things looked pretty kosher on the outside, one look within and it became pretty clear that internally, I was a mess.  I was overwhelmed and oftentimes felt like my life was out of control.  I was dealing with a lot of past hurt and pain that had gone unprocessed.  I struggled to be consistent and disciplined in my walk with God and was constantly chasing the next "spiritual high," believing that if I caught just the right one, I would be propelled to the next level in my faith.

At the crux of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is the belief that we as Christians lack the basic foundation needed for true change and growth. While many of us have grown up in the church and have been Christians for many years, we don't really know God and are operating on very little knowledge and awareness of Him and of ourselves. This is what EHS identifies as the "tip of the iceberg." By neglectingto acknowledge, address, and embrace the brokenness and hurt deep within us (bottom of the iceberg), we wind up hurting ourselves, God, and those around us in the process. More importantly, we become spiritually and emotionally stunted and fail to experience the fullness of God's amazing presence on our daily lives.

Last Sunday, forty brothers and sisters from our Metro community gathered together to participate in our Emotionally Healthy Spirituality course.  For the next eight weeks, we will engage in spiritual disciplines and practices that we believe will utterly transform us from the inside out, giving us the tools we need to continue on a path of growth and healing so that we may become more effective disciples of Jesus.  Please pray for our journey.  We are looking forward to growing together as we dig deeper and strive to create the space necessary for God to do his amazing work.  We know that change like this is virtually impossible without the prayers and support of our church community.  Will you join us by lifting up a weekly prayer for our group?  And while you’re at it, consider the state of your own emotional and spiritual life and whether the Lord may be leading you to participate in a future course. 

Submitted by Olivia Yi

A Very Special Dinner

Last night, about 30 of Metro staff and leaders were invited to an Iftar Dinner, which is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. It was an amazing evening of fellowship, food, and learning about the Muslim faith. I am grateful for my friendship with Imam Ahmet. He is a humble, intelligent, and generous man who I hope I can continue to learn and partner with. 

One big misunderstanding that many of us make is to associate all Muslims with the radical extremist that we see on the news. As a Christian, I would be offended if non-Christians associated me with the KKK (Klu Klux Klan). And unfortunately, because of our ignorance, many Americans are doing this with the Muslim community. Our hope as a church is to continue to nurture our relationship with the Muslim community so that we can learn, love, respect, and appreciate our Muslim brothers and sisters in this country. Yesterday, was a big step in that direction. 

Parking

Greetings Metro Family,

This is a brief update on the parking situation at Grieco Elementary School. You probably realized that in the past couple months we have had two Sundays where parking was an issue at church. 

In one case, a group had reserved the stadium across the street from Grieco school for a Saturday event. It was rained out and their alternate day was Sunday. That group and those attending Metro were in competition for the limited number of parking spaces that are available. For the past two years we have not had that situation because the event was held on a Saturday.

The other case was this past Sunday where there was a track and field event scheduled at the Stadium. Fortunately their event begins later in the morning which allowed us to have full use of the parking lot for the first service, but we were in competition with the track and field folks for second service.

Going forward, we anticipate that the track and field event will be the only thing that conflicts with Metro on a Sunday morning unless there is another rain date situation. We will always do our best to let you know when parking might be a challenge. The Metro attendance was normal this past Sunday so thanks for making the effort to come and worship even if you had to search for a parking space!

God bless,
Pastor Kevin

Gifts From Metro Bless Many

Today, 20 May 2017, Swayimane Community Hall was a hive of activities as 79 orphaned and vulnerable children who are part of the 100 children cared for and supported with schooling needs by Inceboyenkosi gathered for their every other month life skills workshops. This meeting was different from all other meetings. The children also came to receive clothes, underwear and sanitary pads donated by Metro Community Church. Also present were 14 grandparents who were invited to a consultative meeting on how best Inceboyenkosi Church could work with them to care for the children. The meeting started with prayer and sharing of God’s word.

Inceboyenkosi, a Self-Help Group and community based project mentored by Zimele Wethu Foundation organized different life skills activities for the children and the grandmothers.

A BIG THANK YOU FOR SANITARY PADS

One of the major reasons for absenteeism from school by most teenage girls is the lack of sanitary pads. Most girls stay at home during their monthly periods as they cannot afford to buy sanitary pads. One of the girls who received sanitary pads today said that, it is not her grandmother’s priority to buy sanitary pads for her as the little income they have at home is used to buy food and other needs at home. During the discussion on the use of sanitary pads, the girls also pointed out that they are advised by their grandmothers and friend to use pieces of cloths or socks that they reuse. It was therefore a great joy for these girls to receive sanitary pads.

After witnessing the joy and gratitude expressed by the teenage girls who received sanitary pads donated by Metro Community Church, Zimele Wethu staff has, for now, taken a step to work closely with King’s Community Church to provide 20 packets of sanitary pads to Inceboyenkosi to distribute to teenage girls who are part of the 100 orphaned and vulnerable children they are caring for. A BIG THANK YOU TO METRO CHURCH FOR THESE AMAZING GIFTS.

All the 79 children received new clothes. It is rare that orphaned and vulnarable children receive new clothes. Thus today was a very special day for most children who stood in the queue for sometime to receive clothes. The children were so excited and appreciative for the clothes. Most of them could not hide their joy as they received clothes, including underwear. Each child who came received not less than three clothes. 21 children could not come for the Life Skills meeting.  Inceboyenkosi team put aside clothes for the 21 who were absent today. Thank you so much Metro Church for making these children smile today. The children went home happy and feeling loved. This act of love authenticates the African proverb

We have a proverb that states, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ This proverb means that it takes an entire community to raise a child. Each child has the potential to become the best that God has destined them to be in this life if adults in the community play their role to contribute to upbringing them. Inceboyenkosi, with the support of Metro Church and Zimele Wethu Foundation are making a huge difference in the lives of these 100 orphaned and vulnerable children.

Thank you all and God Bless,
Audrey

Dr. Audrey Mukwavi Matimelo

Thank You, Heather!

Metro and Frontline have been so lucky and blessed to have Heather as part of our church family and community. This bride-to-be (will tie the knot in just a couple of weeks) is heading to Westchester where she will be living with her husband. They will be looking for a new church home together. We wish you all the best, Heather.  We love you!

As we say goodbye - we ask Heather some questions:

How long did you attend Metro?
Since January, 2010

How long were you a partner?
This is a bit embarrassing - only for about 2.5 years.  I kept resisting the fact that I wasn't going to leave New Jersey soon!  

What do you love most about Metro? 
The diversity! The fact that all people come to Metro with an openness to each other and that our bond / commonality is in Jesus (not our ethnicity, occupation, or socio-economic background) is very unique and what drew me to Metro in the first place.  

How long have you served on FL?
Since April, 2010.  I jumped right in!  

What do you love most about FL? 
Just one thing? For me, personally, it blends my desire to serve in a tangible way with my love for greeting people and trying to make all feel welcome.  Also, the people who serve on Frontline really are the best.  I have been so blessed to be a part of this group of people who really do make Frontline the coolest ministry at Metro! 

Staying Spiritually Engaged

Let's be honest, staying spiritually engaged with God is a challenge and an uphill battle that many of us face daily. While we acknowledge the importance of God in our lives, very rarely do we find the time to nurture our relationship with him. We struggle to build relationships with people that we can physically see, touch, and hear; and that is why it is almost an impossible challenge to develop and nurture a relationship with an invisible God. There are four things that have helped me to nurture my relationship with God that I hope can serve you today. 

1. Slow down my life
In our fast pace world in which we live in, the thought of slowing down is a foreign and painful concept. Slowing down means we let go of control and allow God to take over. If we do not slow down, God cannot minister to us and show us that he is more than capable of guiding and leading our life. I slow down twice a day for 20 minutes of silence. I also spend Thursdays from 9am to 12pm in silence and solitude. And Mondays are my Sabbath. This rhythm of slowing down helps me to fight the busyness of life. Find what works for you, and make time for it the way you do with working, eating, and sleeping. 

2. Listen to three voices in my life
The first voice is the voice of God. I listen to God's voice through my times of silence and solitude, but also through my meditation of the Bible. The Bible is the most effective way to hear God's voice. I encourage you to read the Bible daily. 

The second voice is the voice of my spiritual director/counselor. My spiritual director and counselor are key people who speak into my life. They provide honest insight about God's direction in my life. They help me to navigate through difficult seasons of my life. Their wisdom and words that they pour into me is a strong anchor that keeps me grounded even in the toughest storms.

The third voice is the voice of my soul mate. A soul mate is someone in your life where you share the darkest areas to your humanity. I have two soulmates that I confess my sins to regularly. They keep me accountable and do not let me get away with sinning the same sin repetitiously. They also speak hard truths to me because they know everything about me. Of course they affirm me as well, but the stuff I look for are the hard truths and tough love. Because I trust my soul mates, whenever they speak hard truths to me, I take it as a term of endearment, not as an attack. 

3. Passion for spouse 
It is impossible to claim that you have a healthy relationship with God, when you do not have a healthy relationship with your spouse. Jenny and I make time for each other so that we can grow in intimacy and passion. Most of us are committed to our spouse, but very few of us are passionate about them. Passion comes from God and in order to have passion for our spouse, we need to pray daily for it. Every morning this is my prayer that I would encourage you to pray: "God would you give me passion for Jenny, and I pray that Jenny would have passion for me." A simple prayer like that can do wonders in a marriage. Commitment without passion is like being in prison. Commitment with passion is being free to love your spouse the way God intends for you. 

4. Passion for the lost
I genuinely care and want the lost to come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This is not only for the pastors, but to anyone who calls themselves a Christian. I believe that life with Jesus is better than anything else this world has to offer. And because I believe in this, I want others to find life in Jesus. Our existence is not to have God come and bless our life. But our purpose in life is to bless God by loving and caring for the lost, so that they can find life in Jesus. Life becomes an adventure when we have passion for the lost. 

This spiritual journey is not easy, but necessary if we are to ever live a life worth living. You have come so far, do not quit, press forward, and let's bring transformation to this world so that our God is glorified as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

Peter Ahn
Lead Pastor
Metro Community Church

ICYMI: Live With Sanetta Ponton

This past Wednesday, we had our third Facebook Live discussion panel (thankfully with no connection dropouts this time!), where Pastor Peter and Pastor Kevin interviewed our incoming Justice, Advocacy & Compassion / Metro Community Center director, Sanetta Ponton.

If you missed the broadcast, or simply want to watch it again, here's the full video now...

We hope that you enjoy/ed the show.

If you have any questions that you would like our pastors and Metro staff to answer on our next broadcast, or...if you have any suggestions for subjects to discuss, we invite you fill out the anonymous form below (or click here, if you can't see it). Don't be shy now - we welcome all questions and suggestions!

Submitted by Timm Chartier
Director of Media & Communications

The Metro Staff Retreated With Jesus And Each Other

Our Metro Staff just got home from a 2 night staff retreat at Spruce Lake Retreat Center in PA. They had a wonderful time as these testimonies tell us....

I’m immensely thankful for our staff because they are people of integrity that genuinely love God and people. As the lead pastor of the church, I do not take it for granted what a wonderful team we have. God has blessed me and Metro for bringing us together to serve his kingdom. – Peter Ahn

Thankful to be on a staff that genuinely cares for each other and loves spending time together in prayer and fellowship.

Every year staff retreat is one of the highlights of my year because it’s a time for us to have fellowship and recharge and pour into one another as a family.

Thankful that I joined staff in time for the retreat. I’m so amazed by how open and honest and loving this group is. I feel blessed and honored to be joining this team.–Janet Kwon

I’m thankful to have the opportunity to get away from regular day life and every year it has been a blessing in a different way.  And once again, this year, God reminded me what a beautiful community we have at Metro staff.

I especially appreciated the opportunity to share and to practice spiritual disciplines in the same space as my friends and colleagues.

At this year’s staff retreat God invited me to hide in the Shadow of His Wings, both in solitude and in community, to escape together and REJOICE together in laughter and MOURN together in tears with such depth in the unity of the Spirit. Thank You, Father! – Shirley You

At this year’s retreat, God really ministered to me through the opportunity to share my story and to hear others’. Witnessing the work of God in each person individually, and how God brings all of our stories together to form the corporate Body, is witnessing glory.  – Reba Kim

I love the transparency of our staff in sharing their pain and brokenness knowing that there is love, support and encouragement in the eyes and words of each person.   I especially appreciated the opportunity to feel safe to share and be my true self.  I am glad I got to spend time with each person in conversation, games, encouragement and affirmation.   I am grateful for each person on staff for the gifting and calling God has on their life.  I love that staff retreat allows us to get closer which helps us to serve together better.  – Ancy Post

We have the best staff family ever and once again the staff retreat served as a reminder of that. We talk about pain being the commonality that unites us but it’s integrity that allows us to share our pain. In listening to people share their pain and hardships I realized that we are people of integrity who are honest and aware of who they are but also the work that God is doing in them.

I came to grow and rest in God with my church staff family. We did hard work digging deep emotionally and spiritually. I appreciate everyone’s willingness to share such great hurts and the encouragement of the loving affirmations. God did many good things during this retreat and we leave better equipped and encouraged.   ~Anna

The staff retreat was a wonderful bonding experience. Betty.

I really appreciated the time with God and was reminded that I need to do this on a weekly basis.  Jenny

 

 

She Leads Conference

Last Saturday, a few ladies from our church went to “She Leads” conference at Jacksonville Chapel in Lincoln Park, NJ. It is a conference to equip and train women who are leaders in different ministries.  Since some of us are in the process of re-launching women’s ministry at Metro, it was a timely conference. Our God knows what we need and He provides at the perfect timing.

The conference started with women from different churches worshipping together. Many wonderful speakers presented great material during the two keynote sessions and three breakout sessions. We were able to select the topics that interested us the most.  

During the first keynote session, the speaker started with a powerful Bible verse. “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message)

I learned that everyone is made to influence others in a way no one else can. People who are close to us are typically are the ones who influence us or we influence the most. The speaker had us draw a small circle and write down the people who we influence daily. Usually they are our immediate family members. Then we drew a bigger circle around it, like a bull’s eye circle, wrote down the people who are our close friends or people we see or meet on a regular basis. Then we drew an even bigger circle around it and wrote down the people who are our friends or neighbors in our community. Those are our circles of influence.

In my personal journey, the people who influenced me may not even know they have great impact on me. Our work is not about impressing others, but about making impression. When we are called to be influencers, one of our reactions may be fear. God doesn’t say, “Don’t be afraid, you’ve got this." Instead, He says,” Don’t be afraid, I’ve got this.” We need to replace fear with God’s truth.

One of the workshops Lisa Ra and I went to was, “Beginning and building a balanced women’s ministry." It was a smaller group and we were probably the younger ones there. The woman who taught began her presentation by explaining why women’s ministry is important. Women's Ministry will encourage women to grow in their relationship with God and with each other, to help women feel accepted, to advance the body of Christ, and to benefit the family. WM is simply women encouraging women, helping meet the needs of one another and inspiring each to grow together in Jesus. The leader has served in WM for 25+ years and she said it feels like she is passing the torch to the next generation. The group was very supportive and excited for us to start women’s ministry at our church. They shared their experiences and wisdom with us.

All of us were glad we went and felt encouraged through this conference. We hope more women will be able to  go next time.

Submitted by Jennifer Kao

The Beauty Of His People

I’m not a great singer.  I can’t harmonize for my life and that’s exactly what I told Eric, our choir director, when I signed up to be part of this year’s Easter choir.  He reassured me with his easy smile that I would be okay.  Who was this unusually tall, energetic, piano-playing Korean brother who told me that I would be ok despite the fact that they wanted us to sing all six songs on the Easter program; that we had a total of four rehearsals together; that I could not understand his hand-written music arrangements (“We come in when, after repeating the pre-chorus twice, skip over verse 2, come back in from which line?  Oh, just stare at you and you’ll give us every cue?  Got it!”)

When I signed up for the Easter choir, I thought it would be fun, something different than what I normally got involved with at Metro.  Well, it turned out to be very fun—it turned out to be something special indeed.  Though I’ve been part of Metro for many years and I know a good number of people, it still isn’t easy to connect with new faces, let alone make new friends.  Let’s face it; we are a sea of faces coming in and out through the doors each Sunday.  How many of us have introduced ourselves to the same person about six times only to forget their name again the next week?  

And so, what started out as an act of half whim, half self-challenge turned out to be a beautiful example of what happens when God brings together a bunch of mostly strangers into one place to become—the body of Christ.  Had I not taken a chance, I would’ve certainly missed out on the blessings.  To be more exact, I would’ve missed out on the gift of new friends, meeting a servant-leader whose example blew us all away, the awesome experience of being on stage on Easter Sunday to bless God and the church, the satisfaction of working hard in each of our parts to later come together in joyous harmony… the beauty of His people.

“Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together.  We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.”  (Ephesians 2:20-22, MSG Version)